Early Impressions (and one long-term-love) – Skincare for Dry Skin

I have been majorly into skincare this winter. I wanted to try and make improvements so that I didn’t need to rely on make-up to look human.

I’m not getting any younger, sadly, and  make-up can only do so much. If the skin underneath the layers is dry, dull and cracked then my face is never going to look its best.  I mentioned some treatments and masks recently (read about that here), but I also wanted to tell you about my top regular skincare choices.


lancome skincare dry skin origins mask liz earle skin repair moisturiser moisturizer


I have used Liz Earle on and off for many years, but a few months ago went back to using the Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser for Dry/Sensitive skin as my nighttime moisturiser.  I can’t really say enough nice things about this little pot of gorgeousness.  The smell leaves a lot to be desired, but you can’t win them all, right?  The scent doesn’t linger though, so it’s a small price to pay for super soft and hydrated skin.  If your skin is even more dry than mine, then you could certainly use the Skin Repair Moisturiser in the morning (they do have a lighter version that I also happen to love).  Despite the dryness of my skin, I really hate that heavy greasy feeling that some moisturisers aimed at dry skin can leave behind.  This one doesn’t have that, and sinks in pleasantly quickly, and doesn’t leave a yucky film on my face.


For daytime, I have been using the Lancome Hydra Zen Anti-Stress Moisturising Cream (there’s a mouthful).  There are many moisturisers in this range, but I went for the Anti-Stress option, because sometimes my skin can be sensitive, and a little angry.  I have only been using this in the morning for the last few weeks, so I suppose I can’t say I have fully tested it.  I do think you know fairly early on whether skincare is going to be a total waste of money, though, and this one is not that. For me, it delivers the perfect amount of hydration, and also contains SPF 15 for that all-important sun protection.  I love that it leaves my skin moisturised, and not slimy, and brightens and calms.

I don’t entirely love the texture (it’s a bit, well, gritty), or the tub.  In fact, this applies to the Liz Earle cream too.  Pots seem so unsanitary to me.  My hands are always clean, but I can’t help but think about bacteria getting in there and spoiling my expensive face creams. However, on the plus side, my penny-pinching side loves that I can get every last drop out of them.

With regards to the odd texture of the Lancome moisturiser, it doesn’t stay on the skin, the little bits do disappear as it’s rubbed in, but it does make it feel slightly less luxurious on the skin,

origins, skincare, mask, dry skin, night routine, hydration


When I need that little bit of extra hydration, and don’t feel like doing my Michael Myers impression with a sheet mask, I adore the Origins Drink Up 10 Minute Mask.  I don’t use this as a mask, but just as an intense moisturiser.  It smells divine (fruity and yummy) and is silky soft to apply.  It does leave skin a little slippery, but I can cope with that if it’s only once a week.  I usually apply it early in the evening and then slump in front of Netflix for a couple of hours before bed.  That way it has sunk in before I go to bed, meaning there is no mess on my pillow. Again, I have been using this for just a few weeks, but I do love the feeling of plumpness when I wake in the morning after using it.  While I know nothing is going to turn back the clock, I intend to keep my skin looking young for as long as humanly possible.


So, these are the products that I love, but what about you? What are your favourite skin saviours? Let me know in the comments, maybe I will find a new wonder product!


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Things I Love Right now

It has been so long since I shared any favourite products that I decided I would put together a little post about my current can’t-be-withouts.


I haven’t really bought any new make-up over the last few months, and instead I have been concentrating on my skin.  The cold weather really makes my skin even more dry than usual (think tight, cracked and flakey. Nice).  So, top of my pamper list has been hydrating masks and rich moisturisers.


make-up, eyeshadow, palette, urban decay, alice in wonderland, liz earle, maybelline, concealer, age rewind, toner, face mask, sheet mask, dry skin


After a long break (sorry Liz), I have returned to an old favourite of mine; Liz Earle skincare.  I first used the Liz Earle range about 10 years ago, and then allowed myself to be lured away by other brands.  I came back though, and that’s what counts, right?

I am particularly loving the Instant Boost Skin Tonic; a gorgeous floral scented, refreshing toner that is just what my skin needs first thing in the morning.  I have decanted some into a small spray bottle, and I love to spritz my skin with it after cleansing and before moisturising.  In the summer it is particularly divine as a refreshing boost throughout the day, but it’s lush in the winter too.


When I need a treat, I adore the When 10pm Bio-Cellulose Anti-Aging Sheet Mask. It never hurts to anti-age, and sheet masks are my favourite type of masks. This Anti-Aging mask makes my skin feel softer than soft, and super hydrated.  The results last for a few days too. When have a whole range of masks (here), and being priced at £7 they aren’t for everyday use (well, not for me anyway), however, they are fab for a weekly pamper session.


My collection of concealers is – quite honestly – disgraceful.  I am ashamed to admit that I have a whole drawer full. I have searched and searched (and searched) for a concealer that will cover my dark circles (impossible), not create lines under my eyes, and not leave me looking dry and cakey (achievable, but difficult).  The Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser is really very good.  I have two shades, and this is the Brightening and Illuminating version. I had to buy it from Amazon.com, and it was shipped from America as far as I can remember.  I did find it in the UK now though, (here) albeit at an inflated price.  This particular shade is quite pink, and reminds me of the YSL Touche Eclat.  It doesn’t have the best coverage for people who resemble pandas (me), but it isn’t even remotely drying and it does brighten up the under eye area nicely.

I could write a book about my concealer struggle, but on days when I just want to look healthy, brighter and hydrated, then the Maybelline Age Rewind concealer is perfect.


eyeshadow, palette, urban decay, alice in wonderland


Last up is an eyeshadow palette.  I was so excited about this palette when it launched last year. I ordered it as soon as it became available and couldn’t wait to try it out.  I hesitated about including it here, because it was limited edition.  But I love it so much that I just had to write about it.

I know packaging shouldn’t be a consideration when buying make-up, but I could not resist this beautiful box. The shadows are lovely too, with a good mix of shimmer, satin and matte shadows.  I particularly like Paradox for the eye lid.  It looks a bit daunting in the pan, but it is actually just orange enough, and is more subtle on the skin than it looks like it will be.  This palette is one of the items in my make-up collection that just makes me happy when I bring it out.  And that’s what make-up should be in my opinion; fun, and a distraction from the crazy people in the news every day.


As always,
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Lip-Smackingly Good

Back to basics – the conditioning lip products that I can’t live without

When I was a pre-teen (about a hundred years ago), I was addicted to cherry flavoured Chapstick. I would apply it more times in a day than was strictly necessary.  If I even smell anything cherry scented now, it will instantly transport me back to my school playground days. This addiction moved on, and as a teenager I would apply whatever lip balms I could get my hands on.


lip balm eight hour lip protectant elkizabeth arden lush bubblegum lip scrub

Now, if you have ever had a lip balm addiction, then you will be well aware that this is not necessarily a good thing. I haven’t done any specific scientifical research into the phenomenon that is ‘lip balm reliance’, but I am pretty sure that applying moisturising lip products every hour on the hour eventually become counter-productive.  In my experience, when I overdid the Chapstick application, my lips could no longer fend for themselves.  They too became addicted, and with it they were even more dry and cracked. What the what?!

Soooo, I went cold-turkey.  I cut myself off. No more cherry Chapstick for me. *sad face*

As an adult, however, I thought I may be able to trust myself to be sensible in my lip balm usage. And so the search began, to find one that would soothe my – often sensitive – dry lips.  I am really quite fussy about lip balms.  They can’t be too sticky, dry or smelly. I like them to be moisturising (obviously), and preferably in stick form so that I don’t have to poke (potentially dirty) fingers into a pot. If this were a movie, this would be where there would be a montage of me trying – and disliking – several lip balms. Fascinating stuff. I have settled on a couple of lovely lip saviours since then.


elizabeth arden eight hour cream lip protectant balm

You may notice from my pictures that neither of the products I am talking about today are in stick form. Oh well, you can’t tick every box can you. I have been using the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Lip Cream Protectant for a few months, and it is wonderfully fabulous. Yes, it’s in a pot, but I can – just about – ignore that.  It is perfectly moisturising, and doesn’t leave a sticky mess behind.  It is glossy, and not so dry that I need to dig my nail in to get anything out.  No surprises there, considering the cult status of the Eight Hour products. Elizabeth Arden also offer a similar lip protectant in a stick form, and in tinted form too!! (lip tints and oils are my latest obsession).


lush lip balm lip scrub sugar bubblegum popcorn mint jojoba oil review

For taking away dry bits, I have recently discovered the Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub. Ohmygerrsssh. This stuff is amazing.  It is a little bit fiddly and messy.  It’s really hard to JUST apply it to the lips; it usually ends up on my chin, all over my hands, and sprinkled on whatever surface I am standing near at the time. But it smells and tastes divine. The Lush Lip Scrubs (they also have mint and popcorn flavours) are oil based, so are a little bit moisturising as well as exfoliating. Being Lush, they are also vegan, and non-toxic.  Of course, you could very easily concoct a home-made alternative, and in fact when I run out I plan to give that a go (I’ll keep you posted!).


If you too have sensitive lips (mine are the worst) then you will understand the almost claustrophobic feeling that comes with having dry, chapped lips. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it is a real pleasure to have found a couple of lip products that deal with this.  All things in moderation though, and I try not to apply lip balm more often than I need to. I wouldn’t want to have to stage an intervention on myself.


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Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil – Second Impressions

When you have dry skin, applying make-up (particularly base products) becomes a bit of a battle.  For the last few months my skin has been drier than a cracker.  We’re talking dry patches, tightness and scales.  It’s been real ugly.  My usual favourite primer (Too Faced Hangover, if you’re interested) has not been cutting it.


primer face make-up smashbox phot finish primer oil moisturiser moisturizer serum hydrating skincare

When I saw the new Photo Finish Primer Oil from Smashbox, I was very intrigued.  Initially I wondered how an oil could possibly be a good idea.  Surely it would be too heavy and disgusting to wear under make-up? (I use Almond oil sometimes as part of my skincare routine, but only at night, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to get away with wearing it under make-up).  I couldn’t leave it alone though, and had to have a little play when I was in Boots.  And then… I bought it.


primer face make-up smashbox phot finish primer oil moisturiser moisturizer serum hydrating skincare


Surprisingly, this Primer Oil is not heavy or disgusting.  It’s much lighter than a normal oil, and it sinks into the skin like magic.  In fact, this is what made me part with 28 squid in the end. I put a generous amount on my hand when shopping, and by the time I had finished talking myself out of buying all the Smashbox it has disappeared. It had soaked in, with barely a trace.  Now, £28 won’t be a lot to some, but to me it kind of is a lot for one product. Especially when I really didn’t know anything about it.


primer face make-up smashbox phot finish primer oil moisturiser moisturizer serum hydrating skincare
One drop of the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil when first applied. It’s runny and has a thin consistency.


primer face make-up smashbox phot finish primer oil moisturiser moisturizer serum hydrating skincare
This is the Primer Oil when rubbed in lightly


primer face make-up smashbox phot finish primer oil moisturiser moisturizer serum hydrating skincare
This is the Primer Oil a minute or two after rubbing in.


Smashbox actually suggest that the Photo Finish Primer Oil should be used as part of your skincare routine, both morning and night.  I have simply used it as an extra step before applying make-up, because that’s when I need it most.  And I have to say, after using it a couple of times,  I am most impressed.  I apply it after cleansing, serum-ing and moisturising, and give it a couple of minutes to soak in.  That’s all it takes for the magic to happen. I should probably point out here that I like a dewy finish; matte is not my friend.

What I find I am left with, after using the oil, is a smooth, hydrated base for my foundation.  Dry patches be gone!  After such a long time of hating the way my skin looks with make-up on, it is so nice to not to cringe when I look in the mirror anymore.  Despite liking a dewy finish, I really don’t like a sticky, tacky feeling (who does though?).  When using the Smashbox oil, I find that it is the perfect amount of hydration.  Dew without the shine, if you will.


Of course, this is only my second impression, so I am hoping that there won’t be any nasty effects. My pores have a habit of becoming clogged when I overdo the moisturising products, so fingers crossed that this won’t happen with the Smashbox Primer Oil.  I’ll let you know how I get on after a few more uses – be sure to check back for updates.






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How to Look After Your Skin when Hormones Try to Ruin Your Life

Warning: I do use the word period in this blog post. Maybe don’t read it if you’re easily icked-out.

When I was a teenager, the most overused word in our house was ‘hormones’. If I had a pound every time my mum blamed something on hormones, I would be very rich now. I used to think she was trying to aggravate me, but as a (slightly) more rational adult, I can see that she was right.




Our hormones – basically chemical messengers – are responsible for a whole lot of upheaval in our bodies. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change; even as so-called adults. (I still wouldn’t describe myself as an adult, even though I’m on the wrong side of 30, and am responsible for several little people).

I don’t know about you, but in the days approaching my period I feel disgusting. There really is no other way to describe it. So, what’s going on? Why do our bodies torture us so? And, what does it mean for our skin?

*An average cycle is 28 days, from the first day of your period to the end of the cycle (the day before your period starts).  Of course, that doesn’t mean your cycle is 28 days, so these time-frames are simply a guide. *


Days 1-7


Day 1 is the first day of your period, and – depending on the length of your cycle – day 7 would be the end. At this time, your body produces more prostaglandin. This annoying, but necessary, group of hormones deal with tissue damage; they help to repair injuries and infection. They affect us during our cycle by increasing pain sensitivity. During your period, you may notice that your skin is extra sensitive, and you may suffer from flushing more than usual. Now is not the time to get your bikini line waxed.


One word: pamper it (sorry, two). In addition to the increase in prostaglandin, oestrogen is now decreased. This causes the skin to be more dry than usual, and makes lines and wrinkles (if you have any) more prominent. These few days would be a good opportunity to relax with a hydrating face mask (sheet masks are my favourite for this). Nothing too aggressive, and try and choose a mask that contains hyaluronic acid. This naturally occurs in our bodies, and – in very simplistic terms – holds water.


Days 7-10


Your period is probably over now, and you should be feeling gooood. Your ovaries will be producing higher levels of oestrogen again, so your skin should be plumper and more hydrated. Seratonin levels will be higher, this is the feel good hormone, resulting in general happiness. Oestrogen encourages the production of Collagen, which acts as a plumper and firmer for the skin.



Now is an excellent time to step up the exfoliation routine. New skins cells are forming, meaning that you will want to get rid of the old ones. Dead skin cells cause the face to look dull and grey, so it makes sense that sloughing them away will leave skin looking brighter.



Days 12 – 16


Ovulation will occur soon, which means Mother Nature wants you looking your best (typical interfering mother). In order to attract a good mate to fertilise that egg, you’ll need to be glowing and fabulous. During these few days, you will hopefully be looking plumper, and firmer, than ever before. Collagen production is at an all-time high, which is good news for that face of yours, and bad news for wrinkles and lines.



You may find your make-up applies better, and you’ll be ready for anything. Enjoy it, because the next couple of weeks are going to be rough….


Days 17 – 24


Remember how increased oestrogen makes the skin more dry and dehydrated? Well, now oestrogen’s evil step-sister takes over. Progesterone is one unpleasant b***h. With increased progesterone comes increased sebum. That’s right, now even the driest skins may find they contain more oils than a massage parlour. Increased oils means one thing: blocked pores and spots.



Keep it clean. You may find you need to switch up your skincare products a bit during these days.  Use a gentle cleanser, and wash twice a day. Any more and you could strip the oils away, which may sound like a good thing, but when the skin feels stripped it will produce more oils to compensate. Exfoliating can increase oil production, so be gentle.


Days 25-28


Progesterone and Oestrogen levels now take a dive, and this causes the lining of the uterus to shed.  You’ll more than likely be feeling pretty rubbish now.  Spots may still be present and accounted for, and you may have cramps and bloating.  Oh joy.



You are about to enter into the sensitive zone (see days 1-7), so go easy, and keep it clean.  It will probably be too late to do anything about the spots at this stage, so use a gentle cleanser, and pamper as you see fit.




  • Try to avoid touching your skin.  Easier said than done, unfortunately.  Touching spots, and generally fiddling with skin is the surest way to spread bacteria, increasing the amount of spots.
  • Clean your mobile.  Phones are a breeding ground for bacteria. Assuming you use your phone in the old-fashioned way (did you know you can talk to people on it?!) then it can be a problem for your skin.  The chin and jaw are the most common area for hormonal breakouts, and where do you hold your phone? Up against your jaw and chin (sort of).  Of course water and mobiles don’t mix, so clean with care.  I use anti-bacterial wipes personally, just be sure to not get anything too wet.
  • Don’t smoke. As well as making you smell pretty rank, smoking affects your skin.  Oh, and it causes cancer, but I’m sure you knew that already.
  • Practise good hygiene.  Clean your skin regularly, and always take your make-up off properly before bed!  Cleanse, tone, moisturise.  At a minimum. Serums can be an important step too, if you have the funds (a good serum can be pricey).
  • Clean your tools! I am very guilty of not doing this (I hate cleaning my brushes and sponges) but it is SO important.  Brushes and beauty sponges contain bacteria, there is no two ways about it.  The best way to avoid swirling dirt and grime all over your lovely clean face? Keeping those brushes clean and sparkly.

Are you still there? That was a long one, I know.  If you made it this far, then thank you, and I hope you learned something about how hormones change the way our skin behaves throughout the month.


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Glossybox – December 2015

This is my fourth Glossybox, and definitely the most exciting so far.  It has six products, instead of the usual five, and the box is so beautiful!  Created in collaboration with blogger ReallyRee, the Rose Gold Edit is designed with the party season in mind.  I have had this box for a few days (I am seriously behind with my blog posts this month…oops) so I have had a chance to try a couple of things.  So, let’s dive straight in!


20151210-DSC_0209 Glossybox-December-2015

So Susan Statement Skin Highlighter Pencil.  A lovely soft glimmering highlighter, this offering from So Susan looks lovely.  I absolutely love highlighters, and don’t feel complete unless I have made myself look like a glitter ball, so I am looking forward to giving this a go.

Essence Liquid Lipstick in Show Off.  I have a love/hate relationship with liquid lipsticks.  In that I want to love them, but always hate them.  This particular lipstick is very glossy and the colour is fab.  It didn’t really dry on me, so I would liken it more to a gloss than a lipstick.  I will persevere though, because I love the colour so much.




Collection Long Lasting Nail Effects in 32 Strawberry GoldI am so excited to try this gorgeous nail polish, it is such an unusual colour.  A purpley base with gold flecks, it would be perfect to add a pop of glittery colour for a Christmas party.  Now, if only I had a party to go to…..

Etre Belle Golden Skin Caviar Eye Roll On.  This clear gel is supposed to soothe and hydrate the delicate skin around the eyes.  I have used it a few times, and in all honesty didn’t notice any spectacular results, but it won’t hurt to keep using it.  Maybe it will need a little more time to wow me.



Darphin 8-Flower Nectar Oil CreamThis luxurious cream-oil hybrid claims to soothe and hydrate the skin, with its infusion of essences from 280 petals.  It all sounds very fancy and expensive (at £65 for 30ml it is way out of my league) and it does feel glorious on the skin.  The smell for me is really not nice initially. fortunately it does fade though.  I will enjoy it while it lasts; I can’t see me being able to part with £65 for a face cream any time soon.




Starskin Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Mask.  I know sheet masks are not for everyone, but I happen to love them.  I am already planning when I can relax with this hydrating mask.  I may well save it for after Christmas when I will be fat and tired, and I will wallow in the bath for an hour with a good book and do my best Michael Myers impression.

All in all this is an excellent box, and with a value of over £50 (by my – terrible – calculations) for only £10 plus P&P it is most definitely great value! See the Glossybox website for more details.

Do you subscribe to Glossybox? What did you think of the December box?


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Two Easy Fuss-Free Face Masks that You Need in Your Life

It has taken me a long time to find a face mask that I would actually recommend.  I have tried so many over the years, and they have all been a bit meh.  Other than the Clarins one I talked about here, which is really just a rich moisturiser.  Now though, I have found two that I love, and use regularly.


L-R Formula 10.0.6 Get Your Glow On Brightening Peel-Off Mask; MaskerAide All Nighter Sheet Mask

Generally speaking, I do not like masks that have to be applied and washed off.  I just find it all a bit of a faff, and to be honest the results aren’t usually worth the hassle. Peel-off masks are like the Marmite of the beauty world, either you find  the idea repulsive, or – like me – you will find great satisfaction in very s-l-o-w-l-y peeling the thick layer off your face.  The Formula 10.0.6 Get Your Glow On Brightening Peel-Off Mask is perfect for a fuss free treatment.  Firstly, it smells divine.  The papaya and citrus work at resurfacing and brightening the skin, and it also unclogs pores and helps to prevent breakouts.  The mask itself is a very thick gloopy consistency – in fact too thick for the tube.  The first time I used it, the sealed end of the tube exploded and made quite the mess.  That aside though, I can honestly say that I become like a new person when I peel this baby off my face.  My skin is left shining, happy, soft, and looking five years younger.

Even more hassle free are sheet masks.  My current favourites are the Maskeraide Sheet Masks, in particular the All Nighter Hydrating Mask.  Sheet masks, if you aren’t familiar with them, are so easy to use it’s ridiculous.  Simply apply the product soaked cloth sheet to your face – attempting to line up the eye and mouth holes – and relax.  They are very slimy and slippery, so it’s useful if you can lie down, because otherwise you will spend the whole 20 minutes or so trying to stop it sliding off.  The beauty of sheet masks is that when the time is up, simply throw the sheet away, and rub in the remaining product.  It couldn’t be easier, no mess to clean up, and wonderful glowing skin! What more could you want?!


Can you recommend any good peel-off, or sheet masks?

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Glossybox – October 2015

After the disappointment that was September’s Glossybox, I was not overly excited about the contents of this month’s pink box.  Fortunately I was at home when it was delivered this time – unlike last month, when I had to face the horror of the never-ending queue at my local Royal Mail Delivery Office.

I am not afraid to admit that I was a little anxious about opening it.  I know this sounds dramatic, but the fact is funds are pretty limited in our house at the moment, and when my lovely parents gave me some money for my birthday I put a lot of thought into which subscription box to choose.  Knowing that I possibly won’t be able to renew when this subscription ends, I was obviously hoping for fantastic contents each month.  Unfortunately Glossybox weren’t aware of this, otherwise I am sure they would have put more effort into my first box.



Anyway *spoiler alert* I am more than happy with October’s box.  Yay.  So before I get on with what’s inside, let me mention that the contents this month are ALL full size, and the total value is just over £70! Not bad for around £10 (the amount you pay varies depending on the length of the subscription, and P&P is added to that amount – more info here)


So Susan Haute Light Highlighting Pencil – £15

A pinky ivory crayon, designed for highlighting and bringing radiance.  So Susan claim that this pencil can also be used on dark circles to brighten.  I’m not sure about that, because it has the typical feel of a pencil product – waxy yet dry at the same time.  Personally, I would stick to using it to line the waterline, to make eyes look more awake.


Talika Photo-Hydra Day – 30ml – £24.85

Described as a deeply hydrating moisturiser, apparently this is the ‘first cream to use energy from natural light to delve deep into skin and moisturise it’.  I have no idea what that even means, but it sounds exciting! I have skincare coming out of my ears at the moment, so I have left this generous tube sealed for the time being.  As soon as I get an opportunity though, I will use it and will report back.



Jelly Pong Pong Fairy Lashes Curl Mascara – £17.95

I have never used anything by Jelly Pong Pong, although their packaging is gorgeous, and their products are 100% cruelty free.  This mascara contains Moringa Seed resin, that ‘dries down and holds the curl of lashes for long-lasting results’.  I have used it a few times, and I do like it.  I am planning a more detailed review of it; this will follow in a few days.


Nicka K Airbrush Blending Sponge – £6.50

Blending sponges are a very handy tool for applying all sorts of liquid products.  Used damp they can give a really natural finish to the skin, when used to apply foundation. Of the four that I have used (read more about those here) the Nicka K Airbrush FX Blending Sponge is most like the Lottie London Blend and Snap sponge in texture.  It is quite heavy, and dense, which can make it feel a little hard and uncomfortable when pressing it on the face.


Lanolips Antibacterial Hand Cream – 50ml – £8.99

A hand cream that also kills germs?!  Not something I have ever seen before, but when I saw the Lanolips Antibacterial Hand Cream, I wondered why on earth not.  I do tend to carry around a hand sanitiser since having children (it’s a mum thing – I always have tissues and baby wipes too).  I don’t spend a huge amount of time thinking about germs, but I do like to clean my hands before eating and after touching any of my children (I jest!).  I do find hand sanitisers to be quite drying, and they sometimes sting a bit too, so the idea of a hand cream/sanitiser hybrid is genius.  In reality, however, putting hand cream on just before eating, or when hands are grubby, just feels a bit yuck.  The actual hand cream itself is lovely; it is very moisturising, and it soaks in quickly.  The scent is quite strong, which could be off putting to some sensitive skin types.


So that is the contents of the October Glossybox all unwrapped.  All in all, an excellent value box, with some really excellent products.  I am already looking forward to next month, hoping it will be just as exciting.

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Glycolic Acid : The Path to Smoother Skin

Stop the press! I have found the secret to smooth glowing skin: Glycolic Acid.  You have probably heard of it, maybe even used it yourself.

So, what is Glycolic Acid, and how does it work?  Despite the scary sounding name, Glycolic Acid is a natural ingredient, and is actually taken from sugar cane.  In very simple terms, it works by removing the very outer layer of skin, leaving behind fresh new skin underneath.  In skincare products that can be used at home, the concentration will be fairly low (probably under 10%) although if having a professional treatment it will be anything from 50% upwards.  It is normal to feel a little bit of tingling when using products containing Alpha Hydroxy Acids (of which Glycolic Acid is one) this simply means it is penetrating the skin and doing its job.  What you shouldn’t experience, however, is burning, redness, or peeling.


Glycolic Acid: Alpha-H Liquid Gold, Nip+Fab Glycolic Cleansing fix, Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Serum


Back in July I went on a little shopping trip, and bought a couple of skincare items (here, if you would like a read) one of which was the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser.  I was a little nervous about using the cleanser initially, what with it having ACID as an ingredient, but eventually I decided to man-up (in a very female way) and try it.  It turns out that my hesitance was unnecessary; there was no burning or smoking from my face – just super smooth, soft skin.  Result!  Some may argue that the Glycolic Acid content is too low to actually do any good (it is 2%), but I am certain that it has made a difference to my skin.  In collaboration with this, I have been using the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Serum , which contains a slightly higher concentration of Glycolic Acid: 4%.  In all honesty, I haven’t noticed a dramatic change after introducing this serum, it is a very thick, sticky product, that isn’t especially pleasant to apply.  You do need to wait for it to dry before applying moisturiser, which can be a bit of a faff in the morning, when time is short.  It hasn’t had a negative effect, so I will continue to use it, but probably would not repurchase it.


The real star of the show for me though, is the Alpha-H Liquid Gold.  This hugely raved about cult product really is as good as everyone says.  I actually came to own this because I had heard great things about the Alpha-H Absolute Eye Complex.  While researching the eye cream, I came across the Discovery Collection, which contains four small skin care products and is a great way to try out a skincare range without committing to full size products.  (I have mentioned before that I absolutely LOVE it when brands do this, it suits my fickle nature down to the ground).

Anyway, I digress.  Liquid Gold has 5% Glycolic Acid, and brightens the skin by giving it a little boost.  Best used three or four evenings a week, simply wet a cotton wool pad with the Liquid Gold, and wipe over the face after cleansing.  It is actually recommended that the skin is left to work uninterrupted overnight, which means not applying moisturiser.  Having quite dry skin, it really goes against the grain to not follow up with a rich night cream, I can tell you.  I initially expected to wake up looking like the Crypt Keeper, but actually the opposite was true.  When I use Liquid Gold (and I don’t use it more than three times a week) my skin is plumped, refreshed and smooth the following morning.

The reason that I actually reached for it (because, as I said, it was just a bonus item with a much wanted eye cream) was that I became frustrated that I couldn’t seem to find anything that would smooth out my bumpy forehead.  I don’t suffer hugely with spots (well, until recently but that’s a whole other blog post) but I have always had a lumpy forehead, which I believe is caused by congested pores.  I have tried all manner of methods to rid myself of the pesky bumps, and the combination of these Glycolic Acid skincare items has done the trick.


I would expect that anyone with very sensitive skin should approach any skincare products containing Glycolic Acid with caution.  For anyone looking for skin that is as fresh as a baby’s bot though, I would recommend finding your Glycolic Acid soul mate – you won’t regret it.



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Latest in Beauty – Capital Beauty Box

Latest In Beauty , if you are not aware, is a little different from the usual beauty box.  They offer individual boxes, instead of an ongoing subscription. There are usually around 6 boxes to choose from, containing both full sized and sample sized products. This particular box was put together with Capital FM, and is the Best of Summer box, apparently containing all the must-have beauty products for the summer.  I purchased this at the reduced price of £9.87.


Latest In Beauty Capital FM Summer Beauty Box


What’s in the Box?

Carmex Moisture Plus Lip Balm – Berry (full size)

A slightly tinted lip balm, that offers SPF 15.  The colour is a sheer glossy pinkish red. On first impressions, I can definitely smell the Shea butter, mixed in – weirdly – with the scent of Vicks VapoRub. I’m not sure how I feel about putting that on my lips….


Carmex Moisture Plus Berry Sheer Tint



Carmex Moisture Plus Berry Sheer Tint Swatch


Colab Sheer and Invisible Dry Shampoo – Paris Floral Fragrance (50ml)

Dry shampoos are a staple in my world, not only to refresh day old hair, but also to add texture when styling.  I often find though, that the fragrance is too strong and will give me a headache half way through the day, so I am looking forward to trying this one out. I have also heard great things about Colab.


Colab Dry Shampoo Paris Floral Fragrance

dr.organic Organic Dead Sea Minerals Bio-Plasma Mud Mask (100ml)

This looks like a typical mud mask; thick and grey.  It promises to be anti-ageing, detoxifying and rejuvinating.  I will definitely be giving it a try: I am very anti ageing, and I could do with being rejuvenated.

I Love….Perfectly Peachy Bath & Shower Creme (10ml)

This is a sample size, and is in association with CoppaFeel.  The sachet comes complete with tips to check yourself, and warning signs to look out for in the breasts.


I Love...Perfectly Peachy and dr.organic Dead Sea Mineral Bio-Plasma Mud Mask

Fudge Urban Hair Art Spray – Violet Haze (125ml)

Now this.  This is an instant colour spray for the hair. It is a fun way to add some temporary colour to the hair, without making a full commitment. My husband once told me that if I dyed my hair purple he wouldn’t be able to look at me, so next time I need some peace and quiet, I’ll be reaching for this little can.

Nails Inc Gel Effect Nail Polish – Mercer Street (8ml)

I love a good Gel nail polish, and although I have tried other Nails Inc polishes (with great results) I have never used one of their Gel polishes.

Fudge Urban Hair Art Violet Haze and Nails Inc Gel Effect Nail Polish Mercer Street


Hawaiian Tropic Satin Protection Ultra Radiance – SPF 30 (100ml)

I’d like to say I’ll give this a go.  However, I think the one day of sunshine that we enjoy in the UK has already passed me by.  This is a good size bottle though; perfect for popping in a bag for a day at the beach.


Hawaiian Tropic Satin Protection SPF 30 (2)


Malin & Goetz Trio – Cleanser, Moisturiser and Lip Balm (10ml, 10ml and 5ml respectively)

I have actually used these products before, as samples free with a magazine.  The lip balm is lovely, and I love to apply it before I put makeup on, then by the time I get to lipstick I am fully hydrated. It acts as a perfect base for lipstick, if you suffer from dry lips.  These little luxury sample sizes are also great for a weekend away.


Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Cleanser, Vitamin E Face Moisturizer and Lip Moisurizer


MUA Mega Volume Mascara Waterproof Black

MUA Mega Volume Mascara (full size)

I am really looking forward to trying this, as part of my ongoing quest to find the perfect mascara.  Maybe this will be the mascara that will stop me in my tracks and give me long, fat, fluttery lashes.


MUA Eyeshadow Palette - Poptastic

MUA Eyeshadow Palette - Poptastic Swatches

MUA Eyeshadow Palette – Poptastic (full size)

I have two other MUA eyeshadow palettes, and they are both fantastic quality, so I hope this will be a great addition to my eyeshadow palette addiction collection.

Overall this is a great value box, especially at the discounted price.  Personally, I like the surprise element of subscription boxes, which you don’t get with Latest in Beauty.  However, as a way to get hold of really excellent samples (and some full sized products) to try out, I think it is fantastic.


What do you think, have you tried any of the Latest in Beauty boxes?

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